As Women’s History Month ends, I’d like to end the month with an exploration of some of the key traits that make women great entrepreneurs.
Overall, women have come a long way, and if there is one realm where more and more women are taking the spotlight, it’s the world of business. From being mere workers and employees, women are turning into bosses themselves, owners and self-made entrepreneurs, and giving their male counterparts a run for the money.
According to a Fortune article, in the United States alone, the number of women-owned businesses has grown by 74% since the late 90s, accounting for about 30% of all the businesses in the country or about 9.4 million companies. These companies have also created over 300,000 jobs since 2007.
An interesting topic of discussion is what makes women better workers — or in this case, better managers and business owners — than men. What has enabled women to conquer the business world just as effectively as they have mastered housework?
1. Women tend to be more social than men. Women generally tend to have stronger people skills and higher social intelligence than men. This is not to say that men aren’t effective networkers, but women tend to more adept at navigating the landscape. They have a “put others first” attitude that makes them more approachable and less autocratic, therefore drawing people in. Women who know how to leverage their social skills can make excellent use of their network to bring in new customers and more importantly, make customers stay.
2. Women are more family-friendly and offer more benefits. Female entrepreneurs know more than anyone else the value of balancing responsibilities at home and at work. In studies conducted, it has been found consistently that companies owned or managed by women have more flexible working hours, offer more benefits in terms of leave and vacation credits and have more family-oriented perks such as day care services. These benefits tend to result into positive employee morale, higher productivity and lower turnover of staff.
3. Women are excellent at multi-tasking. The traditional roles that women have played in the home have trained them to be excellent multi-taskers who are also resourceful and creative. Women have had to juggle demanding and sometimes simultaneous demands at home: looking after the children, doing the housework, managing the family’s monthly budget, etc. These have made women quick on their feet, able to balance priorities and perform a certain task while thinking about the next one.
4. Women are more collaborative than men. This is a trait that is closely associated with women’s social skills. Because they are highly social than men, they also tend to adopt a more collaborative attitude. Women managers are more team players than their male counterparts, are less individualistic and foster a more inclusive approach in their leadership that leads to a more positive morale among staff and customers alike.
5. Women are not afraid to ask for help. Men have been known to be stubborn at times and concerned about their image so much so that they tend to refuse asking for help. Women are the complete opposite. Unlike men, they do not let things like ego get in the way when it comes to tasks that they have to perform, so asking for help is not a problem. Consequently, this has enabled them to complete tasks — and at a much faster rate too than men who prefer to stick to their trial-and-error methods as much as possible.
If you are a woman considering making the entrepreneurial leap, understanding these inherent advantages may give you the motivation to take the plunge!